This is something I have been thinking of submitting to the Huffington Post for a while. If you have ever paid attention to the comments on any article in the religion section, you probably already know that it is regularly trolled by New Atheists who have too much free time. “New Atheism” refers to a particular school of atheism that has cropped up in recent years. It has roots in evolutionary scientists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennet, possibly as a reaction to some of the unsavory elements of Christian neo-Fundamentalism (i.e. anti-Darwinian Evangelicalism). I don’t have a problem with atheism. I rather respect the atheism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, but New Atheism lacks the philosophical gravitas of those thinkers. New Atheism argues that religion is dangerous, and therefore the path to world peace and enlightenment necessitates moving away from God. That’s its position in a nutshell. I normally don’t like talking about whole “schools” of thought because there can be a lot of variety among New Atheist thinkers, but when one blogs, one must often settle for conceptual shorthand.
Last night I picked up Kyla and George from their after-school program. Kyla got into the car and announced that they were having a mock election at school tomorrow, and that she was going to vote for Mitt Romney, because Barack Obama would raise our taxes!
Like all fundamentalist faiths, Chicago School economics is, for its true believers, a closed loop. The starting premise is that the free market is a perfect scientific system, one in which individuals, acting on their own self-interested desires, create the maximum benefits for all. It follows ineluctably that if something is wrong within a free market economy – high inflation or soaring unemployment – it has to be because the market is not truly free. There must be some interference, some distortion in the system. The Chicago solution is always the same: a stricter and more complete application of the fundamentals.
Several years ago I read Fr. Sergei Bulgakov’s claim that Marxism is not social science but a kind of religion. Recently I realized his argument could also be applied to the laissez-faire capitalism promoted by “market liberalism” (which is basically libertarianism). Beginning with Bulgakov, here are a few reasons why I think market liberalism is a religious movement. Continue reading Three Reasons Why Market Liberalism is a Religion
An icon takes something material and makes it transcendent by pointing away from itself. I think the economy should work like an icon. That means the meaning of market activities cannot be found in a market. This is something we forget a lot of times. Part of what it means to be in a market society is that we work ourselves to death and never bother to ask, “Why?” Maybe I am nuts or maybe I am naive, but I don’t think this is what life is supposed to be like.